Monday, July 9, 2012

Blackberry upside-down cake

Here's another one I made ages ago and never got around to posting. Luckily, blackberries are still in season!

This cake reminded me of this cake, combined, say, with a clafoutis. Actually, you know who compared it to a clafoutis was my friend, Stacie, who I gave some to one day when she stopped by. Stacie knows that the answer to, "Do you want a piece of this cake?" is always "Yes," never "I'm on a diet" or "I just had dessert." What the hell do any of those things have to do with eating a delicious piece of cake? When offered, you eat it. Goodness knows life may throw enough unpleasant surprises your way; if you get an unexpected piece of cake, you eat it.

Here is a top view.

I had a little trouble getting the powdered sugar (which was my own addition--a cake needs something to finish it off) to stick. It just kept melting into the berries over and over, even when the cake was perfectly cool. So, I think the cake ended up getting sweeter than it should have, but I'll be the first to admit it didn't bother me. Have we discussed my raging sweet tooth?

You can find the recipe here, and like so many others, I have no doubt this would be divine with an array of other berries. The raspberry is King Berry in our house (the way the almond is King Nut) but I enjoy the blackberry and I can certainly dig the blueberry too. In the summertime, you just go with the flow.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer in San Francisco

Summer in San Francisco is the worst, and if you don't believe me, here is a series of pictures I took a couple of weeks ago as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Remember, this was mid-June.

No, that's not rain, it's fog. See how people have their lights on?

As you're driving across the bridge, you just have faith that it's all intact because you really can't see more than a few feet ahead of you. Someday, it might not be there, and I guess then your number's up. 

I don't mind the fog, for the most part--like the hills, it's an oddity of San Francisco that I tend to like more than dislike. It makes the city unique. When I go places that are flat and warm, I enjoy them, but I also miss my city a little.

But sometimes we have to get out, see the sun, get some vitamin D. On this particular day we headed up to Marin where instead of being smothered by fog we got bathed in sunshine. Marin is beautiful, dry, sunny, and blue skies.

We had sandwiches and Arnold Palmers outside Cowgirl Creamery and even Sophie enjoyed some nibbles or two.

On the way home, we were all in a good mood.

In the evening, rejuvenated but also a little drained from time in the sun, I threw together a pasta I've been making a lot recently, because it's both delicious and quick. I know I didn't invent this, but I still think of it as one my "my" pastas. If you like shrimp, it'll be up your alley. If you don't, well, you're out of luck.

Spaghetti with shrimp, arugula, and tomatoes

1 lb.spaghetti
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
pinch of red pepper flakes
a few handfuls of arugula
grated parmesan, for serving

Bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a big frying pan over medium-high. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once, until just done. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Lower the heat slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly until it's fragrant. Add tomatoes, red pepper, salt and black pepper to taste. Scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up any shrimp bits. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until slightly reduced.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti. When it's done, set aside a little of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, along with the shrimp and as much arugula as you like. I like a lot. Toss, adding some of the pasta water if you want to get the consistency you're looking for. Check for seasoning, then serve in shallow bowls with grated parmesan.